After years of delays and false starts and directorial changes, 'The Hobbit' has shown true momentum in recent months, finally proving that this long-awaited film may actually start to exist in the near future. Not even director Peter Jackson being hospitalized can stop the train of casting news. Today, we learn that young Oscar-nominee Saoirse Ronan has joined the cast. Her role is not specified, but fan speculation suggests that she'll be playing the role of Itaril, an Elven warrior.

This casting has been rumored before, but this news arrives slightly hidden in an Irish Film and Television interview with 'The Hobbit''s casting director, Ros Hubbard (kudos to Coming Soon for finding it), where it's casually brought up as something that we all surely know by now. Although this casting looks highly probable, it should be noted that this is far from an official announcement; anything can change, so don't celebrate/despair quite yet.

Ronan has previously worked with Jackson, starring in his adaptation of 'The Lovely Bones' and will soon be seen as a teenage assassin in Joe Wright's 'Hanna' (which will be her second film under Wright's direction, the first being her Academy Award–nominated work in 'Atonement'). She was most recently seen in 'The Way Back,' directed by the great Peter Weir. With directors like these casting her (more than once!), it's hard to deny that she has something special.

MGM is hoping for a 2012 release for 'The Hobbit.' The cast includes 'Lord of the Rings' veterans Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood in addition to many newcomers, including Martin Freeman as the young Bilbo Baggins, memorably played by Ian Holm in the original trilogy.

But what think you of this casting, Tolkien fans? Does the casting of Ronan in any capacity please you? Or does it send a quake of fear and rage across your soul? Don't be afraid to be vocal in the comments below!
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical